him that she trusted him. Such a far cry from a different life many
years ago at this point. Something he never thought he'd hear and
rightfully so back then. He watched the pleasure upon her features,
satisfaction followed in his. "It bae one o' many places bout I
felt t'is one bae guid to see t'is day." He found out from Alex
and others about. Especially his brother Logan as he indicated the
cliffs rising up near sheer at some points especially near the top.
"Mae brot'er Logan scales t'ese 'n t'e spring and summer."
So that was how he found out about this particular place. She would
find him quick at her side just before an icy spot was reached
before she slipped. Strong gloved hand under her upper arm as he
guided her to the canopy area. "Yea bae careful o' yea bae out
on t'e ice sliding on yea rump." It was solid from what he
tested already. "It bae possible 'n blizzards bout t'ere nae
bae enoug' snow yet." This mountain wasn't as high as some more
north along the Northern Tier of these lands and those as high in
the upper parts of Tyremoor and Ballicastle. Once under the canopy,
he set the basket down on the table, one that had a tablecloth on it
of a fine linen; like they had in Sibio's Bistro. Fancy. He opened
up the basket to first take out a bottle of champagne and two
crystal glasses to pour each some in. Once that was accomplished and
the bottle set aside, he drew out the two packages setting over the
cloth covered food. The scent of sauteed chicken strips, carrot
sticks, bread and apple pie could be taken in. The wrapped packages
were indicated, "t'ese bae fir yea, compliments o' t'e
Attendant Services." Which she could open at any time.
eyes went doe wide when he was oh so suddenly at her side. She
hadn't seen the ice until he pointed it out. "I'm an accident
waiting to happen today, aren't I? First the turkeys, now ice."
She eyed the mountain again, surprised that Logan scaled them.
"Is he part monkey?" She whispered it, as if Logan might
be around somewhere. She was at his side as they went to the table,
watching him as he unpacked the basket. She was surprised when the
two gifts came into view. And she wasn't aware that she was hungry
until she smelled the food. "You came quite prepared, didn't
you? Thank you.." Politely. She, of course, decided to open the
gifts right then--though they could have probably waited. "You
never answered me earlier.." That was bothering her to no end!
She wasn't sure why. "I asked if you were all right.."
Trailing a look to him as she unwrapped the gifts.
mae brot'er 'as been accused o' souch. Part monkey, bird and bear.
Logan bae train'in Mic'ael as well, t'ey 'ave done such 'n t'eir
bounty 'unting tae get tae t'e one." In a nutshell. Logan was
the most outdoorsman of the three males. Although they all had a
certain affinity for nature. "Aye," enough said as she
opened up the presents and he filled up their plates to set while
she did. He was efficient as well. He must have missed the earlier
question, "I bae fine?" Curious glint in burnished green
eyes her way, wondering why she asked.
were quiet earlier, I was wondering.." She explained to him,
noting the curiosity within his eyes. She smiled down at the gifts.
"Thank you very much. I needed a saddle bag." And the
candy? It was hard for her not to skip over the food he brought just
to dig into the candy. "Do you bounty hunt with them?" She
realized that she didn't know much about Broch, not his personal
life. Some things, yes, but she was curious about the rest of him!
Still, the blanket was around her, along with her cloak. She found
that she wasn't really that cold.
could have chosen jewelry but he'd given her a few pieces already
and the saddlebag was practical this time around. Obviously he knew
she needed one and it was well made. "Yea bae very
welcome." Smile tucked within the trim beard as he took up a
seat on the bench. "I get quiet now and again." Words low
as he was admitting to a serious side. "I may bae 'elping mae
brot'ers out wit' t'e bounty 'unting. More sae I can keep 'em
safe." He was head of the family and one of his biggest duties
was keeping his family safe. His two younger brothers had chosen a
dangerous profession or in the least could be. They were very good.
"I bae 'aving t'e skills. Back 'n Eire t'ere were many clan
wars. One really bad one 'ad us separated fir many years, eac'
t'inking t'e ot'ers dead but t'e were nae." A long story but
would suffice presently in a nutshell. They obviously found each
other in time. He was hungry so took the moment to devour his food,
alternating with the champagne.
hadn't seen the serious side of him all that much. Not that it was
unpleasant. It wasn't. She listened to him intently, watching him as
she settled down, too, to eat. The mention of wars nearly had her
frowning, though it was the mention of being separating so long from
his family that brought the frown out. "That had to be a tough
time for you all. I don't see how you all handled it. I'm not sure
how I would react if I'd thought I'd lost everyone in my family at
once.." It was a horrifying thought. "I'm glad all is
well, though. You have a wonderful family, Broch." She had been
lucky to meet Laura, Logan and Michael. She thought highly of all of
them. She fell thoughtful, quiet for a moment while she ate.
it bae a 'ard time fir us all and now we are very pleased tae bae a
family again. We 'ave named our Manor, Teaghlach, whic' bae Gaelic
fir Family." She might noticed he pronounced the 'h' in the
Gaelic word." Having finished his plate for his appetite, he
set out the pieces of pie. It had been a horrifying nightmare for
them as he had been privy for lingering memories. He knew firsthand
what loss was like nonetheless. "W'at o' yea family?"
Sitting back with the smaller plate as he enjoyed Hazel's famous
apple pie. Focus was on her. They had not really had any serious
talks for all their natural teasing of each other. This seemed more
the place and time to take advantage of that other side they both
chewing slowed, even paused when he spoke the Gaelic word. After
swallowing, she grinned. "It's a perfect name. I keep
forgetting to bug you to teach me Gaelic. Though, it sounds quite
difficult." She hated the thought of butchering other
languages. She pushed her plate aside for another. She helped
herself to some of the apple pie. "My family? Oh, well, I'm the
youngest. They're all still in the village, though it seems they've
taken my lead and have started their own little journeys here and
there. Well, you've met my father.." She was still surprised
about that visit. "We've always been close, all of us. My
brothers are married, one recently wed. My sister had been married
before, but she lost her husband in one of the raids." She
pursed her lips. "Oh, I have one sister, two brothers. I don't
know if I had told you that before.." She couldn't recall.
yea can learn words o'er time w'en keep'in mae company." An
easy way to learn words along the way and probably remembered better
when in use, not like learning in a class. "Aye, I bae 'aving
met yea fat'er. I've not seen 'im about 'n a w'ile." So he had
wondered if the man was doing fine and maybe even more, things
between them. There had been friction. "Sae yea 'ave a guid
family life." This pleased him for many never found family lost
or the rapport was volatile. "I din recall iffin you 'ad."
She may have and may not have. They had really not spoken on family
much to start. "Yea work'in fir t'e Clearys bae going guid
this reminded her of something.. She remembered the mention of them
talking in the past, when he noted something had bothered her; the
friction for instance. She never had the chance to tell him what had
bothered her so. "I'd like to think I do. I've been sending
them money.." She trailed off thoughtfully, taking a bite of
her pie. After she swallowed the bite, she nodded, smiling his way.
"Yes, I love working there. They are such nice people. And they
love each other very much. The children are .. just beautiful."
Her smile was a warm one, and her gaze ducked downward to the pie.
She took another bite. It was good stuff! "Oh, and my father is
doing well. Last I heard." She added.
bae earning guid money." Which was very good of her to send
some to her family in helping out. "I 'ad been worried o'er t'e
friction between yea and yir fat'er." Bringing out that which he
had noticed, well, not only him but others. They liked her and were
concerned. The statement was in such a way it didn't need a
response. He would not pry where she might not want ones to.
Obviously he didn't for not even bringing it up at the time. Just
seemed to be a time to mention the concern. "Guid tae 'ear o'
yea fat'er. Sae, yea bae lik'in bairns tae take care o' and
'old." That too was a statement.
didn't quite look up. There had been friction, she remembered it
well. She nodded gently and she seemed rather hesitant on
explaining. "He.. we.." Her lips pursed and she set her
fork down. "Two things. One, he caught me somewhere I should
not have been. Another, the band of raiders that seem to like to..
take advantage of our village, the man over them all was looking for
a wife. My father offered my name. That was the main cause to the
She settled her hands against her lap and grew quiet. Nearly
brooding but there was a slow smile for his last. "Yes, I
do," she admitted. She did love taking care of babies, holding
them. Maybe, maybe one day she'll have her own. She'd not put too
much thought into that, however.
all get caug't 'n places we s'ould not bae. Bout t'at also means t'e
one cact'ing bae t'ere tae." The second part had him frowning.
Big time. It was really hard for him to wrap his mind around a
father who would offer his daughter up like a sacrifice to a
plundering, obviously womanizing male who would use her until tired
and onto the next flight of fancy. Keeping one as a wife or not.
"T'ere bae a reason he'd dae souch a t'ing?" He usually
didn't butt in on such matters but couldn't help it here for a few
reasons. Basic one, he cared. He was also hoping there was a very
good explanation for he actually liked her father otherwise.
there was a reason; one that I didn't believe would happen. It would
have been all a political thing, if you could even call it that.
They promised protection from others, the main thing. I think that
is what had him hooked. It's a small village. And the only reason
it's called that is because there are a few families there that's
not related to us. If they wanted, these raiders, if they really
wanted they could easily wipe that area clean and no one would even
know people once lived there.." She trailed off again. She was
watching him; his reaction to her news, to the things she'd kept to
herself and she thought with good reason. The offer had been quite
humiliating to her. "So, do you think differently of my father
now?" She wouldn't blame him if he did. This offer set a deep
rift between him and her mother, or so she'd heard.
he could understand the thinking on it even if he didn't agree with
the tactic. In his experience, such ways never worked out well in
the long run. Sacrifice the one for the good of the whole.
Sacrificing at all wasn't good though. "I bae offer'in mae
services if yea village," obviously not one in these lands,
"bae still 'aving trouble wit' 'em. Mae and mae brot'ers,"
more if needed. He was friends with a few as well his brothers. They
could bring in a force that would have the raiders avoiding them
afterwards. "I bae t'inking yea fat'er felt 'e didn't 'ave any
ot'er option." Now he would if needed. It was also getting late
as the clouds that had been on the horizon now blocked any of the
earlier sunlight. A few deer moved along the shore across the frozen
pool, looking for a spot where the ice was broken enough for them to
get a drink. Snow was starting to drift down, those big thick flakes
that would grow more dense soon. He put away the remains of their
food, finished off the bottle by pouring the last into their
glasses. Which he proceeded to drink his down before putting the
glass into the basket. He would wait on her, she didn't have to all
but kick it back. They were not that rushed but time to head back.
probably didn't realize how much his offer meant to her. She was
stunned by it. She stared at him for a long, silent moment. Even as
he packed everything away. "You'd.. offer to put your life on
the line.. for us? For me?" She finished the champagne off
pretty quickly. Perhaps from the shock or she was perhaps quite
thirsty. She rose up to, to help him with anything else--if anything
else was to be helped with. She didn't say anything else, she only
was making sure he realized what he was offering.
there was no hesitation in the answer nor had there been in the
offer. He knew his brothers would help as well and could speak for
them. They were a warring clan and she would find, if it came down
to it, what a formable force he was in one against many even by
himself. He thought on one friend that could lend a quality that
would put the fear of god in the raiders to never bother them again.
One of the four horsemen. Smile finally surfaced as burnished green
eyes settled her way again. Once the basket was packed and he placed
her gifts in it for the trip back, he slid it over his arm before
offering his other. "S'all we stroll along t'e s'ore, nae too
close, o' our way back?"
didn't say anything to his first. She couldn't. Grateful, though,
and this was shone in her eyes. They had that misty quality to them
that he'd seen a few times by now. She took his arm gently and she
nodded. "Yes, though not too close. I'd hate for one of us to
slip. It would be an awful way to end such a nice day, don't you
think?" Nice, even if she had opened up on something she'd
nearly chosen to keep from him completely. "I've had a
wonderful time. Thank you. And I'm very glad that I had picked
I mig't end up atop and squis' yea," teasing her in the
lighthearted way to hopefully clear that misty eyed look away. By
the time the leisurely walk was done, the snow would be heavier
while carefully guided her up the trail and back to the sleigh.
The ride back as well a careful pace set to the horses until the
main road where they would end up in a trot to take them back to